Priest: Better options available than death


A CATHOLIC church priest is calling on the Government not to consider death penalty as an option for punishment but to fund rehabilitation programmes to change the people.
Chaplin of Baisu Jail in the Western Highlands Fr Robert Nolie said the Correctional Services was established to rehabilitate offenders and Government should focus on that aspect of the penal system.
He said the death penalty was not the solution for penalising law breakers.
Nolie said he supported Prime Minister James Marape for suggesting a way forward for prisoners.
Nolie said everyone made mistakes and rehabilitation through the state correctional system as well as faith and social programmes were better alternatives than ending a life.
He said leaders could not impose laws to kill wrong doers but rather help change those who broke the laws.
Nolie said he was currently running rehabilitation programmes at Baisu and had seen firsthand the positive impact on a wide range of prisoners including serious offenders.
He said the rehabilitation programmes had prisoners engaged in were piggery, poultry, goat farming, agriculture and now the Baisu Technical Education Vocational Training (Tvet) centre.
“After working with the prisoners for six years I can see that they can change if they are taught to live better lives through the rehabilitation programmes,” he said.
“I make prisoners feel at home, after they leave they go as changed person, this is why the Government should consider funding these programmes to help law breakers.”
He said when PM Marape said that he wanted to create a way forward for prisoners he took that to mean an alternatives to extreme measures such as the death penalty.
“I’m in support of that idea and not the death penalty which will not help at all,” he said.
Nolie said Marape’s leadership was based on empowering his people and this was one of the ways it would manifest itself.
He said the Catholic church of the Archdiocese of Mt Hagen was willing to work with the Correctional Services department in developing and running rehabilitation and reintegration programmes in jails.